When someone claims to work hard and play hard, they usually don’t mean at the same time. Judd Zebersky sees it differently, however. He mixes both as the founder of Jazwares, a toy company that dabbles in all kinds of brands and product lines. For their far-reaching offerings for combining play, education, and collecting, Jazwares is an Inductee of the Pop Culture Hall of Fame for 2020 as a Brand.
Judd and Laura Zebersky had a successful legal practice together, but in the late 1990s, he expressed an interest in starting a toy company. So they took a six-month “vacation” to China to visit every possible company in the industry. Their goal was to learn and understand everything about the design and engineering required for starting a toy production company.
Their legal background was a boon as well, giving them an understanding of licensing and international regulations… the boring stuff that makes the fun stuff possible.
Jazwares makes some of everything from stuffed characters (Peppa Pig, Pokemon) to figures, (Glam Crush, Fortnite) to musical instruments (First Act). One of their recent triumphs has been the rebirth of the Micro Machines brand of toy vehicles. Somewhere along the line, they figured they could satisfy kids’ urges to play with tiny cars at a good price if they used original, unlicensed designs, instead of paying royalties to make models of existing cars like the original brand had done.
Their line of Fuzzible Friends combines plush toys with internet connectivity via Alexa, so Jazwares is pretty cutting edge in many areas, too.
Through a combination of familiar old brands and hot new trends, Jazwares is filling a nice gap in the toy and collectibles market. That’s why they are Inductees in the Pop Culture Hall of Fame for 2020.